A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp
Publication Year: 2006
Published by: The University of North Carolina Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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As the great best seller of the 1850s, Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) had a marked impact on debates on race and slavery in the United States during that decade and beyond. Its impact was and remains controversial. Abraham Lincoln may have admiringly told Stowe during the Civil War that she was "the little woman who wrote the book that started...
Suggestions for Further Reading
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A Note on the Text
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DRED; A TALE OF THE GREAT DISMAL SWAMP
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THE WRITER OF THIS BOOK has chosen, once more, a subject from the scenes and incidents of the slaveholding states. The reason for such a choice is two-fold. First, in a merely artistic point of view, there is no ground, ancient or modern, whose vivid lights, gloomy shadows, and grotesque groupings, afford to the novelist so wide a scope for the exercise of his powers. In the near vicinity of modern...
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Chapter I. The Mistress of Canema
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]"BILLS, HARRY—Yes.—Dear me, where are they?—There!—No. Here?—O, look!—What do you think of this scarf? Isn't it lovely?" "Yes, Miss Nina, beautiful—but—" "O, those bills!—Yes—well, here goes—here—perhaps in this box. No—that's my opera-hat. By the by, what do you think of that? Isn't that bunch of silver wheat lovely? Stop a bit—you shall see it on me." And, with these words...
Chapter II. Clayton
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THE CURTAIN RISES on our next scene, and discovers a tranquil library, illuminated by the slant rays of the afternoon's sun. On onewhence the air came in perfumed with the breath of roses and honeysuckles. The floor covered with white matting, the couches andsofas robed in smooth glazed linen, gave an air of freshness and...
Chapter III. The Clayton Family and Sister Anne
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... father, mother, and sister. Judge Clayton was a tall, dignified,elderly personage, in whom one recognized, at a glance, the gentle-contrast with the brightness of his blue eyes, whose peculiar acuteness of glance might remind one of a falcon. There was something stately in the position of the head and the carriage of the figure, and...
Chapter IV. The Gordon Family
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...she was first introduced to our readers, and during this time she hadbecome familiar with the details of her home life. Nominally, shestood at the head of her plantation, as mistress and queen in herown right of all, both in doors and out; but, really, she found her-self, by her own youth and inexperience, her ignorance of practical...
Chapter V. Harry and His Wife
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...decayed plantation, stood a neat log cabin, whose external aspect showed both taste and care. It was almost enveloped in luxuriant beautifully with the dark, polished green of the finely-cut leaves.American holly, whose evergreen foliage and scarlet berries made it, at all times of the year, a beautiful object. Within the enclosure...
Chapter VI. The Dilemma
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...from the hands of Tomtit, as we have related, ran back with them into Mrs. Nesbit's room, and sat herself down to read them. As shepling a paper with her little hand, and tapping her foot impatiently bit!" addressing her aunt, because it was her outspoken habit to talk to any body or thing which happened to be sitting next to her. "I've...
Chapter VII. Consultation
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...been today! Don't you think, this very morning, as I was sitting in Aunt Nesbit's room, Tomtit brought up these two letters; and one of them is from Clayton, and the other from Mr. Carson; and, now, see here what Clayton says: 'I shall have business that will take me in your vicinity next week; and it is quite possible, unless I hear...
Chapter VIII. Old Tiff
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..."Laws, laws, Missis, how can Tiff tell? I's been a gazin' out deself uneasily on the ragged pallet where she was lying, and, twirling her slender fingers nervously, gazed up at the rough, unplastered framed of rough pine logs, filled between the crevices with mud and straw; the floor made of rough-split planks, unevenly jointed to-...
Chapter IX. The Death
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...proaches, it is, in its effects upon the survivor, always sudden at last. Tiff thought, at first, that his mistress was in a fainting-fit, and tried every means to restore her. It was affecting to see him chafing the thin, white, pearly hands, in his large, rough, black paws; raising the head upon his arm, and calling in a thousand tones of fond endear-...
Chapter X. The Preparation
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THE EXCITEMENT produced by the arrival of Tiff, and the fitting out of Milly to the cottage, had produced a most favorable diversion in Active and buoyant, she threw herself at once into whatever happened to come uppermost on the tide of events. So, having seen the "Aunt Nesbit, I declare I was so interested in that old man! I in-...
Chapter XI. The Lovers
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THEY RODE ON IN SILENCE, till their horses' feet again clattered in the clear, pebbly water of the stream. Here Nina checked her horse;and, pointing round the circle of pine forests, and up the stream, pine-trees, the babble of the waters, the cawing of distant crows,was just such a girl as I am, and used to be just so full of life, and...
Chapter XII. Explanations
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...thither through the pine woods, glorifying whatever they touched grave. With instinctive care for the feeling of the scene, Nina had arrayed herself in a black silk dress, and plain straw bonnet with black Cripps stood by the head of the grave, with that hopeless, imbecile expression with which a nature wholly gross and animal often...
Chapter XIII. Tom Gordon
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..."I SAY, NlNA," said her brother, coming in, a day or two after, from a survey that he had been taking round the premises, "you want me here to manage this place. Everything going at sixes and sevens;1 manager. I'm sure nobody could have been more faithful to me; and"Yes, I dare say. All left to you and the executors, as you call...
Chapter XIV. Aunt Nesbit's Loss
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ON ENTERING THE HOUSE, Nina was met at the door by Milly, with a countenance of some anxiety. "Miss Nina," she said, "your aunt has heard bad news, this morning." "Bad news!" said Nina, quickly,—"what?" "Well, honey, ye see dere has been a lawyer here," said Milly, following Nina as she was going up stairs; "and she has been shut up with him all de mornin'; and when he come out I found her taking on quite dreadful! And she...
Chapter XV. Mr. Jekyl's Opinions
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...the request of Tom, followed him and Mr. Jekyl into the library.our property in Mississippi, which, if they turn out as he expects, Nina threw herself carelessly into the leathern arm-chair by the"You see," said Mr. Jekyl, also seating himself, and pulling out the stiff points of his collar, "having done law business for your fa-...
Chapter XVI. Milly's Story
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NlNA SPENT THE EVENING in the df awing-room; and her brother, in the animation of a new pursuit, forgetful of the difference of the morning, exerted himself to be agreeable, and treated her with more consideration and kindness than he had done any time since his arr...
Chapter XVII. Uncle John
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...able mood of mind. Uncle Jack, as Nina always called him, was the nominal guardian of the estate, and a more friendly and indulgent one Harry could not have desired. He was one of those joyous, easy world should make himself as happy as possible, without fatiguing him with consultations as to particulars. His confidence in Harry...
Chapter XVIII. Dred
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Nothing is more vexatious to an active and enterprising person than to be thrown into a state of entire idleness; and Harry, after lounging about for a short time in the morning, found his indignation increased by every moment of enforced absence from the scene of his daily labors and interests. Having always enjoyed substantially the...
Chapter XIX. The Conspirators
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...the new personage who has been introduced into our history; there-of slave-laws more severe than that of any other civilized nation,with an average practice at least as indulgent as any other; for, badas slavery is at the best, it may yet be admitted that the practice,as a whole, has been less cruel in this country than in many. An...
Chapter XX. Summer Talk at Canema
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...larged by the arrival of Clayton's sister; and Carson, in excellent spirits, had started for a Northern watering-place. In answer to Nina's letter of invitation, Anne had come with her father, who was called to that vicinity by the duties of his profession. Nina received others, soon found herself liking her future sister much better than...
Chapter XXI. Tiff's Preparations
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...vast sensation at Canema, in other circles beside the hall. In the serable finery; for these gatherings furnish the negroes with the same belles. And so, before Old Tiff, who had brought the first intelligence to the plantation, had time to depart, Tomtit had trumpeted the news through all the cluster of negro-houses that skirted the...
Chapter XXII. The Worshippers
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THE CAMP-MEETING is one leading feature in the American development of religion, peculiarly suited to the wide extent of country, population. Undoubtedly its general effects have been salutary. Its evils have been only those incident to any large gatherings, in which those who go for all sorts of reasons; some from curiosity, some...
Chapter XXIII. The Camp-Meeting
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...picturesque portions of the neighborhood. It was a small, partially-cleared spot, in the midst of a dense forest, which stretched away in every direction, in cool, green aisles of checkered light and shade.In the central clearing, a sort of rude amphitheatre of seats was formed of rough-pine slabs. Around on the edges of the forest the...
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Chapter I. Life in the Swamps
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OUR READERS will perhaps feel an interest to turn back with us, and follow the singular wanderings of the mysterious personage, whose wild denunciations had so disturbed the minds of the worshippers presence; and, as the mysterious secrets of the stars only become visible in the night, so in these eclipses of the more material faculties...
Chapter II. More Summer Talk
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...winked from leaf to leaf, or fell in showery diamonds in the breeze.The breath of numberless roses, now in full bloom, rose in clouds. The breakfast-table, with its clean damask, glittering silver, andfragrant coffee, received the last evening's participants of the camp-meeting in fresh morning spirits, ready to discuss, as an every-day...
Chapter III. Milly's Return
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THE VISIT OF CLAYTON and his sister, like all other pleasant things,had its end. Clayton was called back to his law-office and books, perintend his various schemes for the improvement of his negroes. Although it was gravely insisted to the last that there was no en-all parties that only the name was wanting. The warmest possible...
Chapter IV. The Trial
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...whom he was sitting, in a side-room of the courthouse at E., "lookout for breakers! Clayton has mounted his war-horse, and is com-"Clayton is a good fellow," said one of them. "I like him, thoughthe backwoods men say, he an't nothing else! He is a great seventy-should be once fired off, I'm afraid he'll carry everything out of the...
Chapter V. Magnolia Grove
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...contemplate the issue of the case he had defended with satisfaction.As we have already intimated, Clayton was somewhat averse to the practice of the law. Regard for the feelings of his father had led him to resolve that he would at least give it a fair trial. His own turn of practical philanthropy. He would much preferred to have retired to...
Chapter VI. The Troubadour
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...selves with setting a fancy tea-table on the veranda. Nina had gathered a quantity of the leaves of the live oak, which she possessed a particular faculty of plaiting in long, flat wreaths, and with these she garlanded the social round table, after it had been draped in its snowy damask, while Anne was busy arranging fruit in dishes with...
Chapter VII. Tiff's Garden
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WOULD THE LIMITS of our story admit of it, we should gladly lingerton and Nina remained some days longer, and where the hours flew by on flowery feet; but the inevitable time and tide, which wait for no man, wait not for the narrator. We must therefore say, in brief, that when the visit was concluded, Clayton accompanied Nina once...
Chapter VIII. The Warning
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IN LIFE ORGANIZED as it is at the South, there are two currents;—one, the current of the master's fortunes, feelings, and hopes; the other, that of the slave's. It is a melancholy fact in the history of the human race, as yet, that there have been multitudes who follow of the trumpet, the waving of the banners, the shouts of the people,...
Chapter IX. The Morning Star
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...pleasant morning or evening. Tiff had always some little offering,either berries or flowers, to present, or a nice little luncheon of fishserved up in sylvan style, seemed to have something of the wild relish of the woods. In return, she continued to read the story so in-teresting to him; and it was astonishing how little explanation it...
Chapter X. The Legal Decision
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...and Clayton's cause was to be reconsidered. Judge Clayton felt exceedingly chagrined, as the time drew near. Being himself the lead-ing judge of the Supreme Court, the declaration of the bench wouldhave this case referred to me; for I shall be obliged to reverse thedefence, and received a great deal of admiration, which will not be...
Chapter XI. The Cloud Bursts
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No disease has ever more fully filled out the meaning of those awful None has been more irregular, and apparently more perfectly capricious, in its movements. During the successive seasons that it has been epidemic in this country, it has seemed to have set at defiance the skill of the physicians. The system of medical tactics which has...
Chapter XII. The Voice in the Wilderness
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...arranging some papers necessary to closing his business. A colored boy brought in letters from the mail. He looked them over rapidly;and, selecting one, read it with great agitation and impatience. I'm-every nerve, to reach there in twenty-four hours. He pushed for-ward, keeping the animal at the top of his speed; and, at the first...
Chapter XIII. The Evening Star
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...arrangements in the slave states generally, were very little to be depended upon; and therefore a week had elapsed after the mailing ofNina's first letter, describing the danger of her condition, before itwhich had struck the plantation appeared to have abated; and, whileon some estates in the vicinity it was yet on the increase, the inhab-...
Chapter XIV. The Tie Breaks
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...had been much affected by the last charge given him by Nina, that he should care for her people; and the scene of distress which he witnessed among them, at her death, added to the strength of his He sealed up the letters of her different friends, and directed the min order to be returned to the writers, causing Harry to add to each...
Chapter XV. The Purpose
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...left in the library. Tom Gordon was for a few moments stunned by the violence of his fall, and Clayton and Mr. Jekyl at first did not know but he had sustained some serious injury; and the latter, in his confusion, came very near attempting his recovery, by pouring in his face the contents of the large ink-stand. Certainly, quite as ap-...
Chapter XVI. The New Mother
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...our old friend Tiff proceeded as of yore. His chickens and turkeys waved its ripening flags in the September breezes. The grave of the baby had grown green with its first coat of grass, and Tiff was comforted for his loss, because, as he said, "he knowed he's better off."with difficulty, for her old friend's comfort and enlightenment, the...
Chapter XVII. The Flight into Egypt
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THE ONCE NEAT and happy cottage, of which Old Tiff was the guardian genius, soon experienced sad reverses. Polly Skinflint's violent and domineering temper made her absence from her father's establishment rather a matter of congratulation to Abijah. Her mother, one of those listless and inefficient women, whose lives flow in a calm, muddy current of stupidity...
Chapter XVIII. The Clerical Conference
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A FEW DAYS found Clayton in the city of , guest of the Rev. Dr. Gushing. He was a man in middle life; of fine personal presence, urbane, courtly, gentlemanly. Dr. Gushing was a popular and much-admired clergyman, standing high among his brethren in the ministry, and almost the idol of a large and flourishing church. A man of warm feelings...
Chapter XIX. The Result
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AFTER THE DEVOTIONAL SERVICES were over, Dr. Calker proceeded immediately with the business that he had in his mind. "Now, brother Gushing," he said, "there never was any instrumentality raised up by Providence to bring in the latter day equal to the Presbyterian church in the United States of America. It is the great hope of the world; for here, in...
Chapter XX. The Slave's Argument
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ON HIS RETURN HOME, Clayton took from the post-office a letter, which we will give to our readers. "MR. CLAYTON: I am now an outcast. I cannot show my face in the world, I cannot go abroad by daylight; for no crime, as I can see, except resisting oppression. Mr. Clayton, if it were proper for your fathers to fight and shed blood for the oppression that came upon them, why isn't it right...
Chapter XXI. The Desert
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THERE IS NO STUDY in human nature more interesting than the aspects of the same subject seen in the points of view of different characters. One might almost imagine that there were no such thing as absolute truth, since a change of situation or temperament is capable of changing the whole force of an argument. We have been accustomed, even those of us who feel most, to look on the arguments for and against the system...
Chapter XXII. Jegar Sahadutha
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AT TWELVE O'CLOCK, that night, Harry rose from the side of his sleeping wife, and looked out into the darkness. The belt of forest which surrounded them seemed a girdle of impenetrable blackness. But above, where the tree-tops fringed out against the sky, the heavens were seen of a deep, transparent violet, blazing with stars. He opened the door, an...
Chapter XXIII. Frank Russel's Opinions
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CLAYTON WAS STILL pursuing the object which he had undertaken He determined to petition the legislature to grant to the slave the right of seeking legal redress in cases of injury; and, as a necessary step to this, the right of bearing testimony in legal action. As Frank Russel was candidate for the next state legislature, he visited him for the purpose of getting him to...
Chapter XXIV. Tom Gordon's Plans
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TOM GORDON, in the mean while, had commenced ruling his paternal plantation in a manner very different from the former indulgent system. His habits of reckless and boundless extravagance, and utter heedlessness, caused his cravings for money to be absolutely insatiable; and, within legal limits, he had as little care how it was come by, as a highway robber. It is to...
Chapter XXV. Lynch Law
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THE RAYS OF THE AFTERNOON SUN were shining through the fringy needles of the pines. The sound of the woodpecker reverberated through the stillness of the forest, answering to thousand woodland notes. Suddenly, along the distant path, a voice is heard singing, and the sound comes strangely on the ear through the dreamy stillness: "Jesus Christ has lived and died— What is all the world beside...
Chapter XXVI. More Violence
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CLAYTON ROSE THE NEXT MORNING, and found his friends much better than he had expected after the agitation and abuse of the night before. They seemed composed and cheerful. "I am surprised," he said, "to see that your wife is able to be up this morning." "They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength,"1 said father Dickson. "How often I have found it so! We have seen times when I and my wife have...
Chapter XXVII. Engedi
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THE QUESTION MAY OCCUR to our readers, why a retreat which appeared so easily accessible to the negroes of the vicinity in which our story is laid, should escape the vigilance of hunters. In all despotic countries, however, it will be found that the oppressed party become expert in the means of secrecy. It is also a fact that the portion of the community who are trained to labor enjoy all that advantage over...
Chapter XXVIII. The Slave Hunt
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TOM GORDON, for the next two or three days after his injury, washim as his particular attendants were tormented by every species ofannoyance which a restless and passionate man, in his impatience,work every hour to give directions and advice, which, the minuteisn't 'nough to use a body off o' der feet. It's jist four times I's got...
Chapter XXIX. "All Over"
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CLAYTON, at the time of the violent assault which we have described, received an injury upon the head which rendered him insensible. When he came to himself, he was conscious at first only of a fanning of summer breezes. He opened his eyes, and looked listlessly up into the blue sky, that appeared through the thousand leafy hollows of waving boughs. Voices of birds warbling and calling, like answering echoes, to each other, fell...
Chapter XXX. The Burial
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THE DEATH OF DRED fell like a night of despair on the hearts of the little fugitive circle in the swamps—on the hearts of multitudes in the surrounding plantations, who had regarded him as a prophet and a deliverer. He in whom they trusted was dead! The splendid, athletic form, so full of wild vitality, the powerful arm, the trained and keen-seeing eye,..
Chapter XXXI. The Escape
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CLAYTON HAD NOT BEEN an unsympathizing or inattentive witness of these scenes. It is true that he knew not the whole depth of the affair; but Harry's letter and his own observations had led him, without explanation, to feel that there was a perilous degree of excitement in some of the actors in the scene before him, which, unless some escape-valve were opened, might lead to most fatal results. The day after the funeral...
Chapter XXXII. Lynch Law Again
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THE READER NEXT beholds Clayton at Magnolia Grove, whither he had fled to recruit his exhausted health and spirits. He had been accompanied there by Frank Russel. Our readers may often have observed how long habits of intimacy may survive between two persons who have embarked in moral courses, which, if pursued, must eventually separate them forever. For such is the force...
Chapter XXXIII. Flight
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THE PARTY OF FUGITIVES, which started for the North, was divided into two bands. Harry, Lisette, Tiff, and his two children, assumed the character of a family, of whom Harry took the part of father, Lisette the nurse, and Tiff the manservant. The money which Clayton had given them enabling them to furnish a respectable outfit, they found no difficulty in taking passage under this character, at Norfolk, on board a small coasting-vessel bound to New York. Never had Harry known...
Chapter XXXIV. Clear Shining After Rain
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CLAYTON HAD OCCASION to visit New York on business. He never went without carrying some token of remembrance from the friends in his settlement to Milly, now indeed far advanced in years, while yet, in the expressive words of Scripture, "her eye was not dim, nor her natural force abated."1 He found her in a neat little tenement in one of the outer streets of New York, surrounded by about a dozen children, among whom were blacks, whites, and...
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Page Count: 656
Publication Year: 2006